Do you know the top health threats for men? The most common causes of death for men in the U.S. are heart disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease. Although some of the risk factors for these health issues are hereditary, often times they arise over many years of poor health choices. Fortunately, there are several simple lifestyle choices men can take to reduce their risk for such conditions and take charge of their long-term health.
1. Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk for several types of cancer and respiratory disease. Even if you are a smoker, quitting will significantly reduce the negative impacts on your body and reduce your risk for disease.
2. Eat better. Even a few changes in an otherwise poor diet can help the body get the nutrients it needs to fight disease. Drinking more water, and choosing fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats as often as possible help reduce the risk for certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke.
3. Get up and move. Breaking a sweat at least a few days a week is important for cardiovascular health, but even something as simple as standing and moving around can have health benefits. For every 20-30 minutes of sitting, stand up and move around for 3-5 minutes. Walk while talking on the phone and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Move as much as possible.
4. Chill out. Chronic stress can significantly contribute to risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Meditation, breathing exercises, and guided imagery are great, but even something as simple as listening to music or reading an inspirational quote can help calm the mind.
5. Get enough sleep. Sleep is vital to our bodies, but it tends to be the first thing people sacrifice in their busy schedules. Not only does adequate sleep help your body heal and rejuvenate, it will also help you be more productive in maintaining other healthy habits.
By incorporating a few simple changes into their daily lives, men can take control of their health and reduce their risks for common men’s health threats. For more information and resources on men’s health, visit www.cdc.gov and www.nih.gov.